China censors may have caused huge Internet outage

Jan 22, 2014
Two Chinese men use their laptop computers at a cafe in Beijing on November 2, 2012

China's Internet suffered a massive breakdown as traffic was routed to an overseas site linked to the banned religious group Falun Gong—a fiasco a cyber-monitoring group Wednesday blamed on the country's own censors.

Web users in the country—which tightly restricts Internet access—had trouble accessing numerous sites for about an hour on Tuesday afternoon, said Greatfire.org, which tracks the vast Chinese online censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall.

"We have conclusive evidence that this outage was caused by the Great Firewall," it said on its website, calling the incident "one of the largest Internet outages ever in China".

Internet users were sent to an IP address owned by US-based Dynamic Internet Technology, which runs a tool called FreeGate designed to bypass Chinese internet censors.

The IP address—65.49.2.178— is linked to dongtaiwang.com, a news portal run by Falun Gong members, Greatfire.org said.

The state news agency Xinhua raised the possibility of hacking, and the official China Internet Network Information Centre attributed the breakdown to a "root server for top-level domain names".

But Greatfire.org cast doubt on those claims, citing technical tests and saying such an act was "not enough to cause this outage".

Falun Gong is a Buddhist-inspired religious group that was banned in China in 1999 and branded an "evil cult".

Dynamic Internet Technology lists as clients on its website the Epoch Times—a publication linked to the spiritual movement—along with Human Rights in China and other groups.

China's vast censorship apparatus proactively suppresses any information or websites online deemed sensitive, from popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter to a frequently updated list of search terms.

Explore further: China web users surge to 618 million

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China web users surge to 618 million

Jan 16, 2014

The number of web users in China has surged to 618 million, a government agency said Thursday, underscoring the rapid growth of online connectivity in the country with the world's largest Internet population.

China trying new form of 'Internet censorship'

Jun 01, 2013

China is experimenting with more subtle methods to censor Internet search results ahead of the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, according to a group that monitors blocked websites in the ...

Great Firewall 'upgrade' hits China Internet users

Dec 21, 2012

Chinese authorities who have long sought to limit access to information have reinforced the so-called Great Firewall of China, Internet firms say, frustrating businesses and raising activist concerns.

Recommended for you

Scalping can raise ticket prices

23 hours ago

Scalping gets a bad rap. For years, artists and concert promoters have stigmatized ticket resale as a practice that unfairly hurts their own sales and forces fans to pay exorbitant prices for tickets to sold-out concerts. ...

Study shows role of media in sharing life events

Jul 24, 2014

To share is human. And the means to share personal news—good and bad—have exploded over the last decade, particularly social media and texting. But until now, all research about what is known as "social sharing," or the ...

User comments : 0